The Sister-in-Law by Pamela Crane

Thanks to Avon Books UK for an advance copy of this book. All views are my own.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Note: Initially I had given this book a 4 star rating but as I wrote my thoughts on digital paper I realized that I was wrong to give it a 4 star rating and have upgraded it to a 4.5 star.

Nothing beats a book that start guns-blazing. Throwing its reader in the middle of what other books aim to have as the climax. But the question I kept asking myself as I started reading this book was: Where does this book go from here?

The Sister-in-Law by Pamela Crane is a domestic thriller novel that brings to the forefront the dynamics of families and especially the dynamics between siblings. But what happens when the person you thought you knew best does something out of the ordinary? What do you do to maintain your relationship? Do you try to make the person see that they are going in a direction you don’t want them to go? Or do you allow them to go on their path as you stand on the sidelines and watch?

Pamela Crane crafts tension out of the triviality of every day life, positioning her characters at opposites sides of the spectrum.

Captivated by the premise of this book, I stepped into the world that Crane created for her readers. I was skeptical after reading the heart pounding first chapter of this book because I didn’t know if the set up was going to work. I’m happy to say that I was both wrong and right at the same time.

The biggest issues I had with the story wasn’t actually with the story itself. I know, it sounds confusing, but please bear with me. I think that every single scene that Crane has penned needed to be in the book. However there was such a strong pacing split between the chapters that were character driven and the ones that were plot driven that at times the scenes that I wanted to focus on the character, to make me understand why the characters were doing things the way they did, came up short, making me feel that some decisions or reactions were uncharacteristic to the persona I was reading about.

Nonetheless, The Sister-in-Law still managed to grip my attention, simply through the tension created between Harper and Candace. Cane manages to create stellar intrigue between her characters by positioning them on the opposite sides of the spectrum. On one hand you have Harper who wants to protect her brother and ensure she maintains her relationship dynamic as it was whilst Candace wants to make a life for herself and ensure that she retains the comfort of home life at all costs.

In the end Harper and Candace have the same goal. They both want to retain what they have with Lane. And there’s nothing that builds tension better than two characters having the same goal that sit on opposite side of the spectrum. Crane strategically starts the novel with a bang to ensure that it builds conflict in the readers at least on a moral level, having them rooting for someone who looks and acts despicably. And it worked with me.

The Sister-in-Law is a great read that suits fans of domestic thrillers but also is a great light read for people who are looking to make a start in the domestic thriller genre. Avon Books has been and will be a perfect place for readers looking for chilling crime novels and heart racing thrillers and Pamela Crane‘s The Sister-in-Law fits their portfolio like a glove.

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